Driving a Motorbike in Vietnam

Driving a motorbike in Vietnam is an experience unlike any other…

 


 

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Driving a Motorbike in Vietnam:

In Vietnam, the number of motorbikes nearly equals its population.

Motorbikes are the main form of transport and thousands of them fill the streets like ants – after their home has been destroyed.

Motorbikes flying in all directions, everyone driving as fast as they like wherever they like.

Stop lights and one-ways are optional and even the correct side of the road is debatable.

Police seemingly only exist to enforce helmet wearing.

Taking On The Motorbike…

The first time I took on the motorbike I was terrified but feigning confidence.

I had driven a few times before but never in such disorder. I got up on the main road – nice, straight and easy going, my confidence rising.

…Suddenly from nowhere a huge truck flies by me, cuts me off, then slams on its breaks. Break lights coming at me fast, I desperately clutch at the handlebars forgetting that my bike has a foot break.

By the grace of God, in the last moment before impact, I manage to jerk the bike to the side and narrowly graze past a certain hospital visit.driving a motorbike in vietnam, how to drive a motorbike in asia, vietnam motorbikes

Panic…

My confidence gone, my heart beating wildly and the worst yet to come: rush hour in the heart of the city…

The roundabouts – put in place to bring about order in busy intersections – are the scariest places on the road.

No one slows down – hundreds of bikes, each claiming the right-a-way, flying into the roundabout from every direction.

Approaching, I am convinced there is no way through the gauntlet – but with no choice at hand, I venture forward into a sea of doom.

Horns blaring, I gasp as bikes are flying at me from the side, in front of me is a stream of bikes that seems impenetrable. A car comes and plows them out of the way and I quickly follow in its wake.

An old lady in the middle of the intersection – what is she doing here!

A motorbike coming straight at me on my side of the road and a cart full of trinkets for sale blocking my only escape.

Survival…

Finally I arrive at the clinic – trembling.

All day I dread going home but working up my courage, I am about to venture out when suddenly a trauma is brought into the clinic.

Young man, 22 years old, 2 broken ribs, a broken clavicle, a deep penetration wound to his neck, a small pneumothorax and ripped up skin all over his body – cause?

Motorbike accident!

Rules for Driving a Motorbike in Vietnam:

driving a motorbike in vietnam, how to drive a motorbike in asia, vietnam motorbikesI grew to love my motorbike and even the chaos and after a while I realized there were some rules:

1) Everyone must wear a helmet – except children.

2) Cars, although rare, have the right-a-way and own the left lane. …Stay out of there way!

3) Only be concerned about what is happening in front of you and try to ignore what is flying at you from the sides and …never look in your rear view mirror. (:

4) NEVER blink!

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Comments

  1. Great tips… a motorbike adventure in Vietnam sounds exciting! Those videos are impressive the way that everyone figures out how to get around… I am interested to hear if/how you drove back home on the motorbike especially after seeing the kid in the accident?

    • Hey Von,

      Thanks for you comments! Yeah it was a bit nerve racking after seeing that kid but I did make it home that night and many more nights after! Quite scary though! (:

  2. Very funny and some absolutely breathtaking scenes that maybe you also saw on your journeys around Vietnam!?… 2 videos from the extraordinary Top Gear Vietnam Special. In this video, Jeremy Clarkson begins to enjoy his Vespa on the road to the Ancient Capital of Hue, and Richard Hammond is furious when James and Jeremy paint his bike bright pink. Brilliant high quality video from BBC motoring show, Top Gear.


  3. Those rules for driving a motorbike are funny, but kind of scary- really -kids don’t wear helmets? I am impressed you got back on your bike after seeing the kid from the accident!

  4. Driving a motorbike in Vietnam seems like it would give you a serious rush! Talk about having your heart racing! What age can kids in Vietnam start driving and get their driver’s license?
    -Dan

  5. Those videos of the traffic and how it moves and how people almost get run over are really crazy! I know I could NEVER drive a motorbike in Vietnam! I am really impressed you did!

  6. Wow. Did you take lessons before you drove on the busy roads? How did you rent a motorbike? Was it expensive or cheaper than taking a bus or taxi?

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